Tuesday, April 30, 2013


The 1964 science fiction film Robinson Crusoe on Mars left an impression on those of us who caught it either in its first theatrical release or a later re-release (as in my case: 1973). Film director Mick Garris speaks about the film's impact on him as a young movie-goer...


One of my favourite science fiction film scores is the one written for the 1964 flick Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Composed by veteran arranger and composer Nathan Van Cleave (billed simply as "Van Cleave"), this underrated 'space' score fits the film's inherent intimacy so well. There is the upbeat, almost joyous, main theme which feels like a pseudo U.S. National Anthem, essential as the story involves a stranded American astronaut (played believably by Paul Mantee), but a sense of alternating wonder and hopelessness permeates the score proper as we witness the lone figure's fight to survive in the harsh environment of Mars. The 'alien factor' comes into play when an escaped interstellar slave (Victor Lundin) enters the picture and is slowly, and cautiously, befriended by Mantee. Van Cleave's music becomes almost spiritual at times from this point on, intertwining with the established themes to culminate in an uplifting rendering at the film's positive conclusion.

It should be noted that Nathan Van Cleave wrote some of the spookiest and most atmospheric scores for the original Twilight Zone series, including the one for the nightmarish episode "Perchance to Dream". (The music is a huge contributor to this effect.) His score for Robinson Crusoe on Mars is at times reminiscent of his work on the classic television program; especially with his use of the Novachord.

I have not heard Film Score Monthly's 2011 CD release of the Robinson score, so I can only comment in terms of how it fits in the actual movie; the most important term! I would not mind getting the disc, however. Apparently the sound (in stereo, no less) is exceptional. Now that I think about it I do remember listening to the opening theme on the record company's music sample page and thinking "this is glorious!"

A good overview and breakdown of the score to Robinson Crusoe on Mars from the film music review site "Movie Music UK"...

Sunday, April 28, 2013


One of my dedicated readers, "DonaldAR", sent me this link to an article in Friday's Globe and Mail... here

The article in question, written by Tabatha Southey as a 'Special to the Globe and Mail', discusses Sun News' business-attitude change in their request (to the CRTC) to be carried as part of 'basic cable'.

This lady is a comedian. I have not laughed like that, while reading a column, in quite a while. Ms. Southey recounts how the Sun News owners (who are they again?) complain that their channel is up in the high end of the tv dial; way up there with that channel HBO. Southey makes a crack about HBO targeting a demographic that can remember "three consecutive numbers".

There is one issue that writer Southey brings up in her piece which is inaccurate. She says that Sun News is a 'news' service that lacks real "remote" capability, an essential part of a news network. I think she is wrong here. Sun News does lots of remotes: Brian Lilley will live-link to Ezra Levant (in another part of the studio); Michael Coren will live-link to Brian Lilley (in another part of the studio); Ezra Levant will live-link to Michael Coren (in another part of the studio); Michael Coren will live-link to Ezra Levant (in another part of the studio); ....

Saturday, April 27, 2013


So, Boeing engineers have 'fixed' the problem of the 787 Dreamliner's overheating batteries. This has been done, and seemingly approved by the FAA, by putting the troublesome batteries in a case to contain and draw off the heat. Now that makes a lot of sense.

The key problem: The batteries are still overheating.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


National Post columnist Jonathan Kay appeared on Ezra Levant's 'show' to say why he thinks it's important to have Sun News Network on the Canadian television landscape. Fine. He details with an example of how he likes the fact that Sun does not consider itself as existing in an "echo chamber of elitists". Fair enough. However, a more apt description might be that the network lives in its own echo chamber. (Its dim-witted faithful certainly live in one.)

The fun starts when Mr. Kay speaks with some respect for the Toronto Star's journalistic practices and criticizes Sun's lack of... "news". Beautiful. Watch Levant scramble after that; he looks more than a little taken aback. For some unknown reason the interview stops fairly abruptly. The amiable host wraps up by editorializing his already stated position and cuts Kay off from spewing any more "socialist/commie talk". Did the producer, or Levant himself, decide to kill the show because their guest did not read from the scriptures?

Thank you, Mr. Kay. You did Sun New's job for them.

Oh, the show!...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


A copy of the Sun News letter sent to their loving viewers, regarding the network's request to the CRTC for a new licence, made its way into my hands. After reading it over, I simply could not resist making a mockery of its desperate pleas.

What struck me while keying-in the text from the letter was at how low a reading level in which it was written. Do they think their feverishly faithful are one step above being functionally illiterate? Maybe....

Sun News is in trouble and we need your help! (Well, there's not much I can do for you. You have to want to help yourselves.)

In this envelope is a very important set of materials. (Oh, wonderful! Crayons; McDonald's gift certificates; a dictionary; Lorazepam...) We need you to write to the CRTC and speak up for Sun News. (Hear ye, hear ye. I speak for the plebs who can't write above a grade-3 level... ) We've included a postage paid envelope as well as some additional background on our formal application to help you craft your letter to them. (Craft? I'll say this much: in your case, "craft" will be nothing less than critical.)

Our enemies (Enemies?... are those "commies" still giving you guys a hard time? Hey? Reminding you that you use words incorrectly all the time? "What's a nown?") are trying to stop us from getting a new broadcast license. (Ahh... you mean "licence". This is Canada, the Great, as you keep reminding your dim-witted followers. You are employing the word as a noun, therefore; ah, just refer to the dictionary included in the package that you sent us. Just like when Sun News launched (on a Saturn V, we hope), the left-wing propaganda machine is in overdrive spewing out attacks ("spewing out attacks"? "Spewing" won't produce effective aim; sounds pretty harmless), raising cash and doing everything in its power to shut us down. (What, like making people change the channel or underhandedly convincing them to not demand the channel? Yeah, they've been excelling at that, ain't they? They must be raisin' cash for something else. You keep an eye on those sneaky "Lieberal" bastards. I know; they're buyin' books with that money! "Scumbags!!!")

We can't let them get away with it. (No. We can't..... Get away with what?) We need your support. (Nah, it'll take more than anything I can give to support your creaky organization. Hey, I know a guy who does demolitions....) We need you to take action. (... I'll call him, and give him your number.)

Why do we need this new license? (Because there's an "s" in this one, instead of a "c"? That rascally "verb". They deliberately misplace themselves to make you look bad; if I were you, I'd be really mad.) Because right now we're getting the shaft. (No comment.) Many local cable providers are refusing to offer Sun News! (Offer what to Sun News? A sacrifice? Oh, I get it now -- you mean, as a sacrifice.) In fact, we're only allowed in 4 out of 10 households. (Is that anything like "four out of ten"? Introducing a new virus is something that should be done slowly at first, so the public can build up an immunity. Hey, it's working.) It probably won't surprise you to learn that CBC New Channel and CTV News Network are available almost everywhere (as long as those clowns aren't in my shower again; I want them on my television) -- same for America's CNN (sounds to me as though they intimidate you). But it gets worse (Don Adams-like voice: "It gets worse?!"): in some cases, it's easier to get Al Jazeera than Sun News! (That is outrageous! I'm sure you'd agree it's easier to get "the clap" than "Sun News!".)

We are asking the CRTC to offer Sun News exactly what they mandated for CTV News Channel and CBC News Network when they launched. (What, toilet paper for the lavatories?) Nothing more, nothing less. (What the average viewer expects: journalistic integrity -- nothing more, nothing less.)

You know what Sun News stands for. (I sure do: incompetence; emotional unwrapping; dishonesty; less-than-rudimentary thinking. "Yeah, but what other ways?") You know how important it is for our great country that we succeed and continue to spread the truth (that you're really not worthy of this "great country"?).

Without your voice being heard by the CRTC, the playing field will be left to the next CBC, Toronto Star or Canadian Press hit piece on Sun News. (Oh, right. Yeah, they keep coming for you, don't they? "Is there like a suppository somewhere?" Wait a minute, don't you guys always do hit pieces on the CBC? Well, fair is fair, my brainless buddies.) We all know the left has powerful friends in the media. Don't let them get away with it! (Get away with what?... Not offering napkins with the Value Meal? Yeah, the "Left" -- that certifiable proper noun -- is known for doing that. I'm convinced they want to see you drip catsup down your t-shirt.)

The CRTC is very specific as to how to write your letter (because someone there knows how to write, and certainly above a grade-3 reading level), so we've included a checklist for you to follow. (2-litre bottle of pop, check; large bag of potato chips, check; new batteries for the tv remote, checkaroo.) Please, pick up a pen and paper and write to the CRTC today! (I will!... after I watch the CBC News! Post Script: Sorry, I must have forgotten to send off that letter. It's not as though someone would have any reason to think about you. Besides, my cat needed his litter box cleaned. By the way, I think you meant to say, "... write to the CRTC, today!". That would make more sense; even if "sense" is not one of your strong points.)

Yours in freedom, (Sorry, I take my Freedom with a capital "F"!)

The Sun News Team (You'd think a whole team would be able to come up with something better than the above. "Because at Sun News, 2 + 2 = 0.")